Scones and Valentine’s Day have something in common: both have their fair share of critics. Other pastries and holidays seem to be generally well-liked by the masses — muffins, for example, are nearly always acceptable and not too many people get worked up about the Fourth of July. But you can always find those individuals who passionately refuse to celebrate February 14, and the same goes for scones. I think it’s time to address this grievous issue.
Let’s begin with scones. Haters like to claim that scones are too dry and flaky to be enjoyed properly. Maybe they think that scones are stuffy and boring, and are better confined to the potpourri-scented and chintz-patterned tea parlors of old English women. I dare such haters to try one of these roasted pear and dark chocolate scones and call it anything but perfectly moist, vivacious (because vivacious can and should be used for baked goods), and exquisite.
And as for Valentine’s Day, I say what’s not to like about a holiday set aside to celebrate love? What is there better to celebrate? Whether you’ve got a valentine right by your side or an ocean away or none at all, there is still plenty of love around you for you to notice and be thankful for. Why not bake some love into these scones and find some people you like to share them with? That’s what I did, and it made the scones — and the day — all the sweeter.
roasted pear & dark chocolate scones
from Smitten Kitchen
makes 6 big scones
3 firm pears
1/4 cup (or 85 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (or in France: 1 packet of levure chimique)
1/2 teaspoon salt plus extra for egg wash
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
Heat oven to 375.
First, peel, core and cube your pears. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pear chunks across evenly. Roast in the oven–stirring once or twice–for 20 minutes, or until the pear chunks feel dry and begin to brown. Set aside and let cool.
Meanwhile, chop up that chocolate. Do I need to tell you to feel fee to add more if you’d like? Hopefully that’s not necessary. Go choco-crazy!
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add the cooled pear chunks, one egg, and the butter chunks. Use a wooden spoon if you like, but I found it easier to mix the dough with my hands. You do NOT want to overmix scone dough, so an electric mixer is not recommended. An apron, however, is recommended, as this can get messy (messy in the fun way, of course). The dough should be real sticky. Don’t worry; we’ll add more flour in just a moment.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Shape dough into a thick disk. Cut into six wedges. Line baking sheet with another piece of parchment paper and arrange wedges at least two inches apart from one another.
In a small bowl whisk together the white of the second egg, a teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt. Brush the tops and sides of the scones with the egg wash, then sprinkle generously with granulated sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the scones are firm and golden.
Like I said, these scones are moist and full of flavor. The sweetness of the pear and the decadence of the chocolate combine wonderfully with the chewy biscuit-y goodness of the dough. I recommend eating these warm and fresh (they really are best the day of) and perhaps with a cup of tea.
And as my friend Lucy once wisely paraphrased Bob Dylan: “Everybody must get sconed.” So get out there and start baking!